How to Charge for Contract Cleaning

Setting the rates for a cleaning business requires estimation skills.
Setting the rates for a cleaning business requires estimation skills. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Finding the right rate for your cleaning business is not an exact science. It takes trial and error because there are so may variables. A cleaning service usually sets a base rate and makes adjustments according to the job and the client. A few strategic moves will help yout to find a base rate and learn how to tweak the numbers based on specific jobs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen and pencil
  • Tape measure

Find out what your competitors are charging per square foot. Ask around and check with building or office managers of various businesses.

Set your approximate per-square-foot rates. If you are breaking into the business and don't have a reputation, you may want to set your rates somewhat lower than average in order to attract clients.

Go through the areas that you will be cleaning thoroughly with your client. Find out exactly what he wants cleaned in each area. Make sure you are not leaving out areas such as hallways, infrequently used rooms and entryways. Keep track of everything with pencil and paper.

Calculate the total area you will be cleaning. Measure the dimensions of each room and multiply the length times the width to find the area. Break irregularly-shaped rooms into smaller, regular sections, measure them individually and calculate the area. Add together the area of each room and section to find the total area you will be cleaning.

Multiply the total area to clean times your per-square-foot rate for a base figure. You can adjust this amount up or down depending on various factors.

Adjust your base figure slightly lower if the cleaning is to be weekly or if the area to be cleaned has a simple layout. Adjust it higher if the client has specific requirements. Adjust the rate slightly higher if the cleaning is less frequent; if the area has lots of crevices or a complicated layout; or if the job is located at a far distance from your base.

Present the rate quote to your client.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust the rate up or down for a job as time goes by. A client will understand occasional adjustments.
  • Don't sell yourself short by offering a figure that's too low. Make sure that your expenses will not outweigh your profit for the job. However, if your strategy is to gain a foothold in an area with one job and then expand to other clients, you may consider slightly undercharging, as it may bring in more business.

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